Bali is the kind of place that you love so much you never want to leave! It is bursting with heart and soul, from the breath taking scenery to the warm hearted locals. This Indonesian island has something for everyone, whether you want to climb volcanos, learn to surf or simply relax in a spa. Here are my top things to do in Bali!
9) Try the local food
As someone who is always thinking about food, one of the first things I like to do when arriving in a new country, is try the local dishes. From perfectly marinated chicken satay to the Indonesian staple, nasi goreng, Bali did not disappoint!
One of the best local meals that I enjoyed was at BATIK restaurant bar in Seminyak. Batik serves delicious Indonesian meals in a high class environment. As the name suggests, the whole restaurant is styled around the traditional art of Batik, from stairs where each step is a print from a different area of Indonesia, to a wall of stamps which are used in Batik. Everything is so instagrammable! They have a great selection of dishes, and everything is so well presented as well as being fairly priced (mains are around 70-130k IDR).
8) Stay in a luxury hotel
Bali is home to several absolutely incredible luxury hotels. From the most amazing infinity pool at the Munduk Moding Plantation, to afternoon tea by a private waterfall at the Kayon resort, to a floating breakfast at the Desa Visesa!
If you’re not looking to spend too much, there are also a few beautiful hotels to suit a smaller budget. Have a look at my blog on the most instagrammable hotels in Bali for more information.
TOP TIP- Get a 10% refund on your first stay with Booking.com by signing up here!
7) Get lost in the rice paddies
As you leave the deep blue coastline you will enter into lush green rice paddies that border the road and disappear off into the distance.
The most famous rice paddies to explore in Bali is Tegallalang, it’s an easy morning or afternoon trip from Ubud. You will need to pay 10k IDR to enter plus a donation once you’re in the fields.
TOP TIP – If you want to fly high over the rice paddies, rather than forking out $35 for the Bali swing, head to Tegallalang and have a go on one of their many swings (for only $5 or less!)
6) Hike up a volcano!
Indonesia has more active volcanoes than any other country. Bali has two active volcanoes, Mount Agung and Mount Batur.
If I were to return to Bali I would want to do the sunrise Mount Batur hike, you need to leave at 1am but the views look incredible!
I would also make a trip over to Lombok (east of Bali, you can easily get a boat here) as I have heard that it is a much less touristy version of Bali. Here you can hike up the active volcano, Rinjani Mountain.
Dhyns Rinjani Hiking, is a local trekking company licensed by the local government and Mount Rinjani National Park. They are fully authorized to organise hiking tours of Mt. Rinjani for both domestic and foreign visitors. They offer secure and responsible trekking packages from 2 days 1 night to 4 days 3 nights via Senaru village and Sembalun village.
Dhyns Rinjani Hiking packages include:
- pick up and drop off from anywhere in Lombok
- a hotel stay the night before the climb
- a local english speaking guide
- a local porter to bring all food and equipment
- food and water during your hike
- camping equipment
- ticket entry
- accident insurance
- Rinjani Trekking Certificate.
Dhyns Rinjani Hiking are all about sustainable tourism. They have created a program to clean the mountain from garbage, and help to keep Mount Rinjani National Park green.
By booking through Dhyns Rinjani Hiking, you will have an amazing and safe hiking experience, as well as helping to preserve the beautiful Mount Rinjani National Park.
5) Explore the epic coastline in Nusa Penida
Just an hour boat ride from Sanur, Bali is the rustic island of Nusa Penida. It is still fairly under visited so the best time to go is now!
TOP TIP- The roads are pretty under developed so if you are not an experienced scooter driver, I would recommend hiring a taxi.
Start your day visiting the Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach, then brave the climb at Kelingking beach, finish your day chilling at Crystal Beach. Don’t forget your swimming gear!
TOP TIP- Taking a dip at the Angel’s Billabong will depend on the tide. When the tide is high there are waves crashing in, they are spectacular to watch but dangerous to swim in.
TOP TIP – If you want to avoid the crowds stay the night before in Nusa Penida. This way you can hire a taxi before the first boat arrives from the mainland.
If you are thinking of hiking down to Kelingking beach make sure you leave a good 2 hours to climb down and back up again, the steps aren’t in the best condition! Although I didn’t spot any, I’ve heard that this is a great spot to see manta-rays from above.
4) Go snorkling in Gili Meno
Located around 1.5 hour speed boat from Padang Bai, Bali are the three Gili islands; Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air.
When choosing which Gili island to stay on you need to consider what you’re after, Gili T is the biggest and best for partying, Gili Air is quieter and Gili M is the smallest and least touristy (and amazing snorkeling).
TOP TIP- To swim with turtles just head to the north east point of Gili Meno and swim out about 50 meters to the coral, you don’t need to pay for a boat tour! As the coral is long and spread out you can come at any time of day.
You can also snorkle with the underwater lovers in Gili Meno. To do this without joining a boat tour, just head to the middle west side of the island (near the lake) and swim about 30m from the beach.
TOP TIP- Go here before 8:30am to avoid the crowds.
3) Swim in a waterfall
Bali is a waterfall lovers paradise! From huge ones surrounded by greenery to smaller ones with the most beautiful light rays. You can’t come to Bali and not swim in a waterfall!
Make sure you check out:
Tukad Cepung – About a 1.5 hour drive from Ubud (plus 15 minute walk) is the most magical waterfall I have ever seen! The light in this place is just unreal! We went here on a tour from Ubud to Mount Agung, find out more about this tour in my 3 day Ubud Itinerary. TOP TIP- Aim to get here no later than 10am, as this is the best time to see the light rays.
Tegenungan Waterfall – Just a bit south of Ubud, is Tegenungan. This waterfall is the perfect spot for a swim!
Banyumala Waterfall – Located just north of the twin lakes, this waterfall was originally only known by the locals. It has now been ‘open’ to tourists for a year so it is still relatively new and undiscovered. It’s a bit of a walk to get there but it is super lush and green! TOP TIP- Don’t visit if it’s raining a lot as you might have trouble driving up hill in the mud!
There are so many beautiful waterfalls to visit in Bali, check out the top 7.
2) Admire the many temples
Though Indonesia is primarily Muslim, Bali is multi-religious with the predominant religion is being Hinduism. Balinese Hinduism, originated from Java and is a blend of Shivaism and Buddhism.
In Bali you can find hundreds of beautiful and spiritual temples. To enter, you will need to be wearing a sarong, you can either buy one or hire one at each temple. As is it custom, even if you are covering your legs, you will still need to wear a sarong.
Make sure you check out:
Pura Lempuyang – Situated on a hill nearby Mount Agung, this temple has the most iconic gates in Bali. It is about a 3 hour drive east of Ubud, so is doable as part of a day tour (we got a taxi for 3 for the day for around 45$). There are many temples going up this hill and to see all of them, you would need to set aside around 4-5 hours, however, if you wish to visit only the insta-famous temple, it is only a short hike away from the entry point. TOP TIP- You can visit at any time of day to get this photo as people will queue. I went around midday and had to queue about 30 minutes to get a photo between the gates. Make sure you check the weather forecast for the day as the clouds can hide Mount Agung.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan – This temple is both a famous picturesque landmark and a significant temple complex located on the western side of the Beratan Lake in north central Bali. TOP TIP- This temple gets very busy with tour bus visitors from about 9am so I would aim to visit before then. You could also tie this in with a trip to the nearby Handara golf gates.
Pura Tirta Empul – Located about a 30 minute drive north of Ubud, is the Pura Titra Empul, a temple compound consisting of a bathing structure, and famous for its holy spring water. Balinese Hindus visit this temple for a ritual purification, you can either observe or partake in the purification process.
Pura Tanah Lot – Tanah Lot is a rock formation that is home to the ancient Hindu pilgrimage temple Pura Tanah Lot. It is located about 20 kilometers north west of Denpasar. TOP TIP- This temple is a prime tourist destination so it does get very busy. Head here for opening at 7am to avoid the crowds.
1) Learn how to surf
Bali is renowned for surfing, and it has beaches and waves to suit all levels. It is the perfect place to learn as you can have lessons with a private instructor, which really helps you to quickly develop your skills on a board.
I booked through Nengah Private Surf Guiding School. Nengah (pictured below, left) has been surfing for over 20 years and his school offers professional surf lessons & surf guiding. Lessons are only $37 to $43 (depending if you are 1:1 or 2:1) including surf board and rash vest. Nengah and his crew knew the best times and locations for beginner waves, and were great on providing feedback on how we could improve.
If you want to book a lesson email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bali is an amazing island, with so much to discover! I hope you manage to find your little piece of adventure and relaxation! If you want to read more about Ubud, check out my 3 day travel itinerary!
If you’re interested in learning more about my spendings for my 7 month trip, check out my blog “How to Travel on a Budget in Asia“.
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